The Consultancy

Sustainable Museums helps the cultural sector pursue resilient and regenerative approaches to programs, operations, and community/partner engagement. I help the leadership for museums, sites, zoos, gardens, aquariums, and science & nature centers as they plan more strategic engagement with initiatives around environmental sustainability and climate resilience, especially as they work with partners outside the sector.

The sector has so much to offer and gain as it connects its sustainable work with the global efforts on environmental and human health, on climate mitigation and adaptation, and on community resilience.

The sector is a key partner with cities, counties, and states for planning sustainable and resilient futures for their communities. The sector is a key partner on infrastructure planning and implementation, and on public engagement and education.

When you work with Sustainable Museums, you have access to a unique resource for examples within the field, innovation outside it, and to the intellectual support to help you assess and strategize for institutional change.

Sarah Sutton, presenting at a UN Side Event, COP25

We draw on current research and practice in resource conservation and efficiencies, alternative energy, public engagement, and climate resilience and adaptation to help you makes the best decisions possible. Where else would you go to:

  • identify other museums testing energy efficiency and collections care, or
  • to develop a strategic sustainability plan, or
  • search for funding, or
  • explore what changes in the law or local codes will affect your institution?

If your association, government or business is looking for guidance on working with the cultural sector on climate. We’d be pleased to work with you.

Here’s what others have said:

“During Sarah’s work with a Strawbery Banke Museum staff team exploring how to introduce environmental sustainability as an institution-wide theme, we heard repeatedly in the weeks following how the staff came to see each other and the site in new, exciting ways, and how they enjoyed the way Sarah designed the team work and how she worked with them. They universally loved what she did and how she did it.”

     -Larry Yerdon, President, Strawbery Banke Museums

“Sarah is a great support to our team over the years as Detroit Zoological Society takes on important strategic green changes. She has helped us deepen and broaden our culture of sustainability, supported us with important examples from the field, and always been a cheerful influence.”

     -Gerry VanAcker, Chief Operations Officer, Detroit Zoological Society

Dumbarton House embarked on an effort to increase its sustainability back in 2010, both in an effort to conserve environmental resources and to positively impact our bottom line. Throughout the process, Sarah served as both an inspiring model and a supportive “coach” for our staff. She reviewed drafts of our Sustainability Action Plan, provided helpful resources, and helped us plan for sustainability in our grant application process in order to gain some financial support to advance our goals.

Meanwhile, through our efforts and our work with Sarah in this area Dumbarton House achieved significant recognition for our work—appearing in various articles and books in professional publications and receiving the 2013 Mayor’s Sustainability Award here in Washington, DC—the only museum or historic site to ever be recognized in this way. Through our work with Sarah, we have learned that “being green” is possible even for small museums and historic sites, and even with a small budget.”

     -Karen Daly, Executive Director, Dumbarton House, Headquarters for the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America